Sport Soccer

Wednesday 18 October 2017

In brief: Ireland stay 34th in FIFA rankings

The Republic of Ireland remain at 34th in the latest FIFA rankings, but Northern Ireland have slumped 20 places to 65th, one spot above Scotland who have dropped 16 places.

World Cup winners Spain stay in the No 1 spot, while beaten finalists the Netherlands remain at No 2 and Brazil climb two places to No 3.

Germany fell one spot to No 4, while Argentina drop to fifth after drawing friendlies against the United States and Costa Rica.

FIFA's newest member, Montenegro, rose to a best-ever No. 24 since getting football independence in 2007.

Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier opponents Russia fell five to No 13.

Arsenal duo return

Arsenal pair Wojciech Szczesny and Johan Djourou are set to return from injury for Sunday's visit of Liverpool.

Goalkeeper Szczesny has recovered from the dislocated finger suffered during Arsenal's loss to Barcelona on 8 March.

Djourou dislocated his shoulder against Manchester United on 12 March, but is back in full training. Fellow centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is on the mend after an Achilles tendon operation and Arsenal are planning some behind-closed-doors friendlies for him.

Usmanov not selling

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov insists he will not sell his stake in Arsenal after fellow shareholder Stan Kroenke triggered a mandatory buyout offer for the club.

Kroenke's main focus will now be on purchasing the £194m stake owned by Usmanov, who does not have a seat on the board but controls 27pc of the club's holding company.

Benni quits Hammers

South Africa striker Benni McCarthy has left West Ham after having his contract terminated by mutual consent. The 33-year-old hasn't scored in 14 games.

Irish Independent

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